As a kid I remember desperately waiting for the last day of school and for the summer vacations to start. Just the memory makes me feel enthralled. The aroma of ripe mango lingering in the air, the whiff of homemade pickle, cool lemonades, all the running around in the hot summer sun, competing with friend to see who plucks the maximum kairis (raw mango) or jamun from the neighborhood orchard, beach time, trekking up the mountains etc. Oh the sweetness of the carefree times…but as we grow older summer doesn’t seem as appeasing as it once used to be. The scorching heat makes us want to stay locked in the house in air conditioned rooms. Not many can deny the discomfort that summer brings with it.
One of the most common issues we face is getting sun burnt. With all the long hours we spend outdoors on a holiday we end up with tanned, damaged skin. It makes your skin prone to freckles and dark spots. Also it ages your skin by causing wrinkles. The best idea to avoid getting sun burnt is by avoiding being out in direct sunlight during peak hours from 10 am to 4pm. If that seems impossible make sure you cover up your face with scarves, wear full sleeved cotton shirts or sun coats and carry an umbrella.
Never leave the house without slathering some sunscreen with a minimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 20 on the exposed skin areas and reapply every 2 hours. You can choose from amongst a range of sunscreens depending on your skin type. If your skin is very dry you may need one with moisturiser in it. It is better to use a gel based sunscreen to prevent the skin from looking greasy especially if you have oily skin. Or Spice up your style quotient by wearing a fancy hat, while protecting you from the sultry heat. If you still get sunburned you can apply a paste of yogurt and ground oats to the skin for its soothing anti inflammatory properties and to get rid of the tan.
People often tend to get heat rashes due to excessive sweating during this time of the year, soaking in a tub with few tablespoons of baking soda added to the water helps to ease the itching and make you feel more comfortable while the rash heals. Applying baking soda or cornstarch directly to the rash site to absorb moisture and sweat. This is an age old approach with guaranteed benefits. Some say cornstarch is better because it is softer on the skin. Wearing loose clothes with airy material such as cotton or linen might help to prevent discomfort. Use talcum powder with menthol after bath to keep the skin dry.
The body is usually able to regulate temperature via sweating or blood flow changes to the skin, however in extreme heat, high humidity, or during vigorous physical exertion, the body may not be able to dissipate heat and the body temperature rises leading to “Heat stroke”. It is a serious medical condition that can have potential fatal implications if not treated immediately. Symptoms include an extremely high body temperature, red, hot dry skin; a rapid pulse, headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness. Avoid overheating by staying in the shade and drinking plenty of water.
Dehydration and heat stroke are very closely related, it is important to have plenty fluids in the form of water, juices, coconut water etc. Along with water we also need to replace the body salts lost due to perspiration. Having electral solution daily especially if you are out in the sun most of the time helps in keeping you well hydrated and maintain better energy levels.
Sun exposure does a lot of damage to our skin not only by making us look dark, tanned but it also makes our skin more prone to breakouts. Sweat and sebum block the hair follicle and as a result acne occurs. To prevent acne it is important to keep the skin squeaky clean. Use a good non -comedogenic face wash twice a day and keep rinsing your skin with plain water often. Exfoliation once a week helps to remove dead cells and reduces blackheads. Also having plenty of water is the best gift you can give to your skin, it helps in flushing out toxins and improves complexion.
As it is rightly said you are what you eat, with all the external care it is mandatory to eat healthy to look your best. Have atleast 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables on daily basis. You can also have healthy smoothies made from fruits, vegetables, nuts and yogurt. Cut down on your sugar and refined carbohydrates and have more of wholegrain foods. Switch to herbal teas instead of loading up on multiple cups of caffeine with coffee and milk tea.
We may be concerned with keeping out skin shielded from the sun. But it is important to keep our eyes protected since UV rays exposure can lead to cataracts and glaucoma. Wearing sunglasses not only protects our eyes, but the delicate tissues around our eyes as well. When selecting a pair of sunglasses, make sure they block 99 or 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Bigger the frame the better the protection.
Summer also causes an increase in hair problems such as dandruff, itchy scalp, dull and frizzy hair. Washing hair every alternate day helps in controlling a lot of scalp issues by reducing the sebum production and keeping the scalp clean. Using the gel from fresh aloe vera leaf help to condition the hair, reduces dandruff and smoothens it.
Foot hygiene is also another important aspect during summers. Most of us might experience that wearing closed footwear and walking around all day makes the toes sweaty. This may cause stinking of the feet. It also causes fungal infection between toes. Use peep-toes or strappy sandals instead. If you wear socks make sure they are 70% cotton. Change the socks twice a day if they become wet due to sweat. Soak the feet in cold water with Epsom salts at the end of the day. Sometimes it seems like baking soda is good for just about anything. One quick home remedy would be to sprinkle some baking soda between toes after washing to prevent moisture build up.